Northwest Regional: Colorado champs beat Eagle River 6-0, snapping Wolves' 13-game winning streak

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Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 2, 2023

Rocky Mountain Lobos’ pitching silenced the Eagle River bats on Day 1 of the Northwest Regional as the Colorado state champions cruised to a 6-0 victory Wednesday in Gillette, Wyoming.

Starter Ross Frank and reliever Eric Berquist combined for a 3-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts as the Fort Collins club snapped the Wolves’ 13-game winning streak.

Frank, a 6-foot-2 right-hander, struck out seven of the first 11 batters he faced and got Landon Hudson to pop up to wiggle out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning.

Frank was effective, not electric; he used a funky three-quarters delivery to confuse and frustrate the Eagle River batters on his way to racking up nine strikeouts. He also worked quickly and dictated the tempo on most plate appearances.

He struck out the side on 12 pitches in the first inning and struck out two batters in each of the second, third and fifth innings. He picked up the win in 4.2 innings and was pulled after 77 pitches.

Eagle River’s luck didn’t change against Berquist, a 6-2 right-hander, who threw the final 2.1 innings.

Landon Hudson hammered a double on the first pitch he saw from Berquist, but the Alaskans stranded him after Liam Lierman’s line drive flyout to center field ended the inning.

The Wolves left six on base, including three in scoring position.

With the loss, Eagle River (26-9) slipped into the consolation bracket and will play Thursday against the loser between Bellevue (WA) and Gillette (WY).

Last year, Eagle River beat this same team 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning on Dalton Smith’s walk-off single that scored Jack Molloy with the winning run.

Molloy was back and this time he was on the mound. He pitched a 1-2-3 first inning and got a 6-4-3 double play and a strikeout in the second inning.

He also had one of his team’s best plate appearances of the day, earning a two-out walk in the second inning after winning a 9-pitch battle against Frank.

Molloy, a 5-foot-11 left-hander, ran into trouble at pitcher in the third inning as the Lobos used a double and three singles to take a 3-0 lead.

Those runs were the first given up in 12 innings by Eagle River pitching since the semifinals of the Alaska state tournament last month.

Tommy Molloy replaced his big bro on the mound and threw a 1-2-3 fourth frame. After getting the first two outs in the fifth, he issued back-to-back walks before Phoenix West ripped a ground-rule double that made it 4-0. Molloy struck out three-hole hitter Christian Wood to get out of it with runners at second and third.

The Lobos tacked on a pair of runs in the sixth, highlighted by a 390-foot triple by Brady Hall, who launched a laser over the center fielder’s head.

Eagle River’s Dallin Roberts finished 2-for-3 and Alex Mullen walked twice. Both guys got as far as third base.

In the second, Mullen walked, went to second on Roberts’ single and to third on Molloy’s walk. In the seventh, Roberts led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch and stole third base.

Eagle River 000 000 0 – 0 3 0
Fort Collins 003 012 x – 6 8 0
Eagle River – J.Molloy, T.Molloy (4), Johannes (7), Rose (7) and Roberts. Fort Collins – Frank, Berquist (5) and Nelson. W – Frank. L – J.Molloy. SV – Berquist. 2B – Nelson (FC), Hudson (ER), West (FC), Lawing (FC). 3B – Hall (FC). HR – None.